Bee Balm Plant: Care, Growing Guide, & Facts
Bee Balm Plant Description
Bee balm plants are herbaceous perennials endemic to North America that are prized for their brilliant, colourful blossoms. Bee balm is really a member of the mint family, with fragrant leaves and a variety of culinary and therapeutic purposes.
Bee balm plants contain clusters of crimson, pink, or purple tubular blooms in mid to late summer, and are best planted in the spring or fall.
The plants’ capacity to attract a variety of species to the garden environment, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, is one of its main selling factors, along with their characteristic “spiky hairstyle” blossoms.
Bee balm is also a good choice if you want to add long-lasting colour to your garden; the plants are long-blooming perennials that grow swiftly and can encompass a range of three feet or more. They can grow up to 2 to 4 feet wide and tall.
How To Care Bee Balm?
If you’re searching for a rustic garden atmosphere, the bee balm plant is the way to go. For relatively little work, the American native provides gardeners with seasons of beauty, scent, and wildlife.
They like full sun to moderate shade and wet soil, although they can tolerate a wide range of circumstances. Bee balm is an edible herb in addition to being used for aesthetic purposes in the environment.
Its blossoms are used to season salads and other meals, and they may also be dried and used to produce a spicy-sweet herbal tea. It could be used medicinally to heal rashes and other skin issues, and it can also be put into a balm to heal bee stings, hence the common name.
Red bee balm attracts hummingbirds and butterflies, and it’s widely cultivated to attract bees, who help pollinate other nearby plants. If left to its own devices, bee balm has a propensity to expand aggressively, so divide the plants every few years in early spring to prevent them from taking over unless you want them to. Deadheading the flowers will also encourage them to blossom again.
How To Grow Bee Balm?
Although bee balm might tolerate partial shade, it thrives best when it gets at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Too much shadow might cause the plant to become leggy over time, reducing the number and brilliance of its blossoms.
Bee balm plants cultivated in hotter areas, on the other hand, may tolerate a little more shade than usual.
If you want your bee balm to grow, make sure it’s planted in rich, wet soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Poor soil may be modified with compost or manure to enrich it, loosen it up, and make it more conducive to bee balm growth if necessary.
You may also cover the soil with mulch to keep the shallow-rooted plant wet and prevent it from dying out.
Bee balm is a moisture-loving plant that thrives in a damp environment. As a result, depending on your temperature and location, you should plan to water the plant regularly, maybe weekly, and never let the soil dry up.
It’s extremely crucial to have a consistent watering schedule throughout the first year of the plant’s life, since this permits it to create a strong root system.
iv. Temperature and Humidity
Bee balm isn’t fussy about temperature or humidity as long as it’s planted in the right USDA zones. Fresh seeds, on the other hand, should not be planted until the ground temperature reaches at least 40°F.
You may provide your bee balm plants with a combined 10-10-10 fertiliser each spring for an extra dose of nourishment, although it is not required for their growth.
Bee Balm Pruning
Bee balm fans appreciate the plant’s wild, rustic vibe, but it should still be clipped at regular intervals to maintain the best chance of success.
Deadhead the blooms as soon as they open to prolong the season’s blossoming and keep them from self-seeding unless you want them to. You should also weed the plant’s base on a regular basis to keep intruders from strangling its weak roots.
Common Pests and Diseases in Bee Balm
Powdery mildew, a fungus that thrives in moist circumstances, primarily in late summer when rain and humidity combine to produce problems for the thick plants, can affect bee balm.
If your plants get powdery mildew after you’ve enjoyed the flowers for a while, it’s probably advisable to cut them back to the ground and dispose of the cut growth appropriately.
If your bee balm plants become infected with powdery mildew too early and cutting them down isn’t an option, spray them with a mix of three parts water to one part milk.
To avoid powdery mildew in the first place, keep these perennials at least 2 feet apart and split so that air can flow freely within them.
During watering, you may also lay your garden hose at the base of the plants instead of watering from above, which will also overwet the foliage.